Will Bees Suffer so We can Grow More Oysters?

by Julie Tennis on March 7, 2014

Commercial shellfish growers in Washington State want to begin using the most toxic pesticide to bees, Imidacloprid, to control burrowing shrimp in Willapa Bay.

Burrowing shrimp (Neotrypaea californiensis and Upogebia pugettensis) are native to Willapa Bay but carry little commercial value. They can have a negative impact on commercial shellfish operations by churning up sediment that suffocates oysters being rasied on the muddy floor of the bay.

While some scientists believe there would be little chance of bees coming into contact with the chemical, I have questions that I have not yet found answers for; such as, how will flowering shoreline plants be protected from drift from the spraying operations? I’m also curious as to how incidental kills of other invertebrates, such as crabs and other shellfish, will be avoided. And while toxicity is reported to be relatively low in fish (such as salmon), what will the long-term effects of this chemical be on the fish, and the people who consume them?

Although the first public comment period has passed, the threat to our own health as well as that of our bees and other wildlife is too great to allow this proposal to continue unchallenged. As one local citizen has pointed out, this proposal “seems like a short term solution to a long term problem.” Rather than going for the “quick fix” of a chemical, let’s look for natural ways to put the burrowing shrimp populations back in balance in Willapa Bay.

What do you think? Should we allow Imidacloprid to be used in Willapa Bay? What other alternatives do we have?




Michelle Collins October 5, 2014 at 9:11 am

I agree with you. We should NOT have this or any other pesticide distributed into the bay (or anywhere for that matter).

Julie Tennis October 9, 2014 at 7:29 pm

Hi Michelle,

Thank you for commenting – and thank you for the information you emailed about this issue. 🙂


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